Minutes of Movement Add Up to a Better Life

Minutes of Movement Add Up to a Better Life

Minutes of Movement Add Up to a Better Life

Lee esto en EspanolNot being active can be dangerous for your health. Inactivity raises the chance of getting serious health problems like heart disease and diabetes. Yet 1 in 2 adults — and 77 percent of high school students — don’t get enough physical activity.

The good news: getting more exercise doesn’t have to take a lot of time. You can find ways to add physical activity to your day, no matter how busy you are. The payoff can be a better body and mind.

Move More for a Better Life

People of all ages can benefit from more physical activity. Any amount of physical activity has some benefits, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. leaving site icon People who sit less and do any amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity gain some health benefits.

The health benefits are manyleaving site icon 

  • It helps reduce your risk for many chronic diseases, like heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
  • It helps you maintain a healthy weight. That helps avoid many serious health issues.
  • Along with healthy eating, routine workouts can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in adults with prediabetes.
  • People with arthritis who do “joint-friendly” workouts like walking, biking and swimming can reduce their pain and boost their range of movement and mood.
  • Adding activity also helps lower the risk of high blood pressure, which raises the chances of having a heart attack or stroke.
  • Being active can even help lower the risk of some types of cancer.
  • It can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Regular activity can help keep muscles and bones strong. That helps maintain better function and can help you avoid falls and other injuries.
  • Exercise can improve brain health.

In addition to helping prevent illness and injury, being active can make your life better each day. More activity can:

  • Improve your mood
  • Sharpen your focus
  • Lower your stress
  • Help your sleep
  • Increase your energy levels
Start Small

The key is to just get started. Everyone needs both aerobic and muscle-strengthening movement. You can start by looking for ways to stand a bit more, take a few more steps, add some stretching into your chores. You can find ways to move more throughout your day.

Then when you have a few minutes, you can start doing more. Try walking five minutes each hour. You can walk around your home or office. You can even multitask by walking during a phone call or online meeting. You can even get a mini workout when you do your household chores. It all adds up.

If you’re planning to start new fitness efforts, talk to your doctor about what is best for you, especially if you have health issues. But basics like walking and stretching are safe for most people.

Try Something Different

Doing different types of exercises can keep you from getting bored. More importantly, it can expand the range of benefits you’ll experienceleaving site icon 

Try to include activities in your routine from these four categories:

  • Aerobic/Cardiovascular activity: leaving site icon Aerobic activity helps improve heart and lung fitness. It includes walking, jogging, swimming and dancing.
  • Muscle-strengthening activity: leaving site icon Helps maintain or increase strength, endurance and power. In addition to training with weights or resistance bands, it includes every day activities like lifting children, carrying groceries or climbing stairs. You can also do squats, lunges and other exercises that use your body weight for resistance.
  • Flexibility trainingleaving site icon  Stretching helps joints and muscles, providing a greater range of movement and better posture. It can also help you avoid injury. It’s beneficial to stretch before and after aerobic or strengthening exercise. But you can stretch any time to improve your overall flexibility. Be sure to stretch the right way leaving site icon to get the best benefit and avoid injury.
  • Balance training: leaving site icon Improving balance boosts body control and stability to help avoid injuries. Try standing with your weight on one foot and lifting the other foot. Or walk a straight line, heel-to-toe.

Adults should aim for moderate aerobic movement for at least 150 minutes each week. Activity can be spread out so you can fit it into your schedule. Aim for at least twice a week for strengthening activities. For balance and flexibility training, spend a few minutes several times a week or daily.

Get more ideas, including tips for children, seniors and people with physical challenges or medical conditions, from Move Your Way. leaving site icon 

Get Going

Whatever activity you chose to do, just get started now. Even short periods of physical activity done regularly can have a positive impact on your health and your quality of life.

Sources: Physical Inactivity, leaving site icon Adding Physical Activity to Your Life, leaving site icon Move Your Way, leaving site icon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022; Staying Active, leaving site icon Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; 13 Benefits of Exerciseleaving site icon  Cleveland Clinic, 2021; Aerobic Exercise, leaving site icon Cleveland Clinic, 2019; What Is Muscular Strength, and What Are Some Exercises You Can Do?, leaving site icon Healthline, 2019; How to improve your flexibility, leaving site icon Live Science, 2021; Six tips for safe stretches, leaving site icon Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, 2019; Balance Training, leaving site icon WebMD, 2020